Viachaslau Lazarau

journalist, in custody

Date of birth: 29 August 1976

Date of detention: 9 February 2023

Charges indicted:

Art. 361-4 of the Criminal Code — Promoting extremist activities

Sentence: 5 1/2 years

Penalty: imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony

Judge: Yauhen Burunou

Prison: Penal colony No. 15

Viachaslau Lazarau, a 46-year-old journalist from Viciebsk, was arrested on the evening of February 9, 2023. His relatives spent the next two days trying to find out where he was and what he was accused of. First, he was taken to the Investigative Committee. Only on the morning of February 11 his family found out that Lazarau was held in the detention center, but the essence of the accusation is still in question.

Lazarau was arrested after a search at his place of residence. His cell phones and a small video camera were seized. Besides, the law enforcers searched his wife's place of residence and seized a laptop and two cell phones. His wife informed human rights defenders that the search warrant allegedly mentioned a criminal case initiated against Lazarau.

In 2018 and 2019, Viachaslau Lazarau was twice fined under Part 2 of Article 22.9 of the Code of Administrative Offences for "illegal producing of media products". In 2020, the Kastryčnicki District of Viciebsk canceled a similar case against Lazarau.

During the events of August 2020, Lazarau was also detained. The police kept him for several hours in a pre-trial detention center and released him without filing a report.

It is known that Viachaslau was charged under part 1 of Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code ('supporting extremist activities'). Now he is being held in Viciebsk pre-trial detention center No. 2.

On September 25, 2023, Viachaslau was sentenced to five years and six months of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony.

Judge of Viciebsk Regional Court Yauhen Burunou considered the case at a closed session.

On November 22, 2023, the Supreme Court considered appeals against the decision of the Viciebsk Regional Court. Viachaslau's sentence was reduced by six months, reports Belarusian Association of Journalists. 

Mail address: Penal colony No. 15. 213105, Mahilioŭ, Viejna, Slaŭharadskaja šaša 183

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